Bethlehem Press

Monday, July 13, 2020

Pa. reopening a cautious success

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Nate Jastrzemski njastrzemski@tnonline.com in Local News

The last yellow county in the commonwealth, Lebanon, despite breaking from Governor Tom Wolf’s orders in trying to open early, is scheduled to turn green Friday. It marks a cautiously successful reopening in Pennsylvania, as some states rushed to reopen weeks ago and are now seeing record outbreaks of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

California, Texas and Florida are now counting between 5,000 and 7,000 new cases a day, with some urban hospitals in Texas in particular straining to keep up.

From the high point in March at more than 1,500 cases per day, Pennsylvania has settled down to around 600 per day for more than a month straight, while the Wolf administration continues to establish more testing sites and train infection trackers.

“As nearly the entire state is now in the green phase, we must remain committed to protecting against Covid-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said June 26. “Pennsylvania has been a model for the country on how to reopen effectively using a careful, measured approach. However, the virus has not gone away. Each of us has a responsibility to continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands frequently. Together we can protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”

Mask wearing is required in all businesses in yellow and green phases of reopening. Consistent mask wearing could have lasting benefits, as a Covid-19 surge is possible this fall.”

As of Monday, the state has 85,988 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 6,614 deaths. Lehigh County has 3,890 confirmed and 253 deaths; Northampton County has 3,175 confirmed and 236 deaths; the city of Bethlehem has 1,046 confirmed and 78 deaths.